#RaisingReaders Monday: Starting a Boys’ Book Club by Debbie D’Aurelio

Today’s post comes from children’s author and fellow Storm Literary client, Debbie D’Aurelio. Debbie kindly agreed to share her experience creating a book club for boys – a great way to keep them engaged as readers.

boys books

Book clubs for boys are becoming more popular and perhaps even . . . cool? Well, I’m not sure about that, but it’s a great way to entice boys to read beyond the required reading for school. For one, they’re with other boys their age (no girls allowed—except for moms) and two, it’s a relaxed environment with no tests or grades.
When I started a boys’ book club along with the some friends, I wasn’t sure how my son would react. Initially, he had some questions like, “how much work is it going to be?” But, he agreed to give it a try. That was five years ago and the book club is still going strong.

Thinking of starting a boys’ book club? Here are ten tips we learned along the way.

1. The group should be kept to about six boys. Anymore than that and the discussion could take too long or get off track (short attention spans). Also, those boys who are uncomfortable speaking in a group may be less likely to join in.

2. A good age is third grade or older. If you have a young group of avid readers you may be able to start earlier, but younger boys will have a wider range of reading skill.

3. Meetings typically take place every four to six weeks depending on the length of the book, holidays, school schedules, etc. The meetings can take place at member houses which seems to create a nice relaxed atmosphere.

4. Each boy should take a turn picking a book. They are encouraged to change genre’s and not choose from the same category every time (e.g. historical fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, biography, mystery and science fiction.

5. Some great resources for selecting books include  www.gradereading.netwww.goodreads.com and www.thechildrensbookreview.com. You can also search Amazon for books by age.

6. Food is another great motivator. Our group usually serves snacks, dessert or even dinner. It’s fun to tie-in the food selection with the book. For example, when the boys read Lincoln’s Last Days the host served fried chicken—President Lincoln’s favorite food.

7. Initially, the host should prepare a few discussion questions to get the ball rolling. As the boys get older, they can prepare their own discussion questions and the parents simply moderate.

8. One idea the boys enjoyed was to read a book that was also a movie and then either go to the theatre or rent the movie to show at home. Some examples are Mazerunner, The Giver, Holes, Harry Potter.

9. Summer is a great time to fit in a couple of extra club meetings. It’s also a time to read the required summer reading so the boys can discuss the story before heading back to school.

10. Of course, always leave time for the boys to just hang-out and have fun.

Readers, do you have more suggestions? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Big thanks to my friend Debbie for her contribution to the blog today – and for all she does to encourage a love of reading.

Debbie D’Aurelio lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing middle grade novels and picture books and is a member of the www.middlegrademafia.com blog. You can find out more about Debbie on her website at www.debbiedaurelio.com and on Twitter @ddaurelio. I encourage you all to check her out online!

 

 

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18 thoughts on “#RaisingReaders Monday: Starting a Boys’ Book Club by Debbie D’Aurelio

  1. This is a great idea! Our library has a mother-daughter book club and I kind of feel left out. I’m sure they’d let Evan and myself join, but he’d be the only boy. If I ever start a boys book club, I’ll make sure and take your advice Debbie. 🙂

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    • As if you didn’t have enough to do, Becky! And yet, a boys’ book club at the library sounds like a great idea. I’ll bet you know a few other moms who would pitch in to help.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post today, Sabina! I’ve been trying to organize a book club of my own for awhile now – but all the moms I know are so busy! It’s tough to get together more than 2 or 3 times a year!

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    • Now that’s a great idea! With back-to-school coming right up, it’s a wonderful time to get your kids in the reading habit. (BTW, my 10-yr-old adores the Percy Jackson and Origami Yoda series. Just in case you need more suggestions!)

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    • I would suggest using one of his interests to make it more engaging. For example, if he’s into music, he could be in charge of a creating a playlist for the meeting based on the book. If he likes cooking, he could make themed snacks. If he likes Legos, he could build a model or challenge his friends to build models based on elements of the book. Making the club your own – and the boys’ own- lets you cater to the specific interests of the kids in the group and help them make connections beyond the text. I even know a group of moms who read the Nicky Fifth series with their boys (mysteries that take place in real NJ locales) and traveled to the places in the books! The possibilities are endless.

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  2. I did a boys book club for my son – just after 2nd grade. It was so much fun! We did a craft with each book – like painting little dragon figurines for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. each boy got to choose a book throughout life of club.

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  3. I love this idea! I have found many young boys are closet book readers who feel they need to hide their books because it’s not cool. Here’s hoping I can find enough moms and sons that would be up for the challenge!

    Marissa

    Stopping over from #TwinklyTuesday

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    • Thanks for dropping in , Marissa! I’ll bet that you’ve got several friends who’d love to join in, if only asked. Boys do tend to down play their love of reading, and even their intelligence, at a certain age in an effort to seem “cool” or tough. Giving them a safe space to explore and enjoy books with their peers is a great way to counteract that.

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  4. I am a secondary school English Teacher and we are starting a book club with our weak Y10 boys (aged 14/15) and your ideas and points are great. I will definitely use these. Thank you. #twinklytuesday

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    • So glad that Debbie and I could be of help to you! I’d love to hear about your book selections, successes and challenges sometime. Please let me know if you blog about it at all – I’d be happy to both read it and share!

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